To look up an entry in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, use the search window above. For best results, after typing in the word, click on the “Search” button instead of using the “enter” key.

Some compound words (like bus rapid transit, dog whistle, or identity theft) don’t appear on the drop-down list when you type them in the search bar. For best results with compound words, place a quotation mark before the compound word in the search window.

guide to the dictionary



The Usage Panel is a group of nearly 200 prominent scholars, creative writers, journalists, diplomats, and others in occupations requiring mastery of language. Annual surveys have gauged the acceptability of particular usages and grammatical constructions.

The Panelists



The new American Heritage Dictionary app is now available for iOS and Android.



The articles in our blog examine new words, revised definitions, interesting images from the fifth edition, discussions of usage, and more.


See word lists from the best-selling 100 Words Series!

Find out more!



Check out the Dictionary Society of North America at

proj·ect (prŏjĕkt, -ĭkt)
1. An undertaking requiring concerted effort: a community cleanup project; a government-funded irrigation project.
2. An extensive task undertaken by a student or group of students to apply, illustrate, or supplement classroom lessons.
3. A plan or proposal for accomplishing something. See Synonyms at plan.
4. also projects A housing project.
v. pro·ject (prə-jĕkt)pro·ject·ed, pro·ject·ing, pro·jects
v. tr.
1. To thrust outward or forward: project one's jaw in defiance.
2. To throw forward; hurl: project an arrow.
3. To send out into space; cast: project a light beam.
4. To cause (an image) to appear on a surface by the controlled direction of light: projected the slide onto a screen.
5. Mathematics To produce (a projection).
6. To direct (one's voice) so as to be heard clearly at a distance.
7. Psychology To attribute (one's own emotion or motive, for example) to someone else unconsciously in order to avoid anxiety or guilt.
8. To convey an impression of to an audience or to others: a posture that projects defeat.
9. To form a plan or intention for: project a new business enterprise.
10. To calculate, estimate, or predict (something in the future), based on present data or trends: projecting next year's expenses.
v. intr.
1. To extend forward or out; jut out: beams that project beyond the eaves. See Synonyms at bulge.
2. To direct one's voice so as to be heard clearly at a distance.

[Middle English projecte, from Latin prōiectum, projecting structure, from neuter past participle of prōicere, to throw out : prō-, forth; see PRO–1 + iacere, to throw; see yē- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

pro·jecta·ble adj.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.